Disney Sets Directors for 'Maleficent,' Mountain Adventure Movie

Maleficient Sleeping Beauty Witch - P 2012
<p>Maleficient Sleeping Beauty Witch - P 2012</p>   |   Sleeping Beauty
Robert Stromberg will direct the retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" from the perspective of the evil queen, while Brian Beletic will helm an untitled adventure movie about explorers in the Alps.

Disney is hitting the ground running in 2012, hiring directors on two different projects in one day.

The studio has tapped Robert Stromberg, the production designer behind the billion-dollar grossing Avatar and Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, to direct Maleficent, the company’s live-action take on Sleeping Beauty. The project, which tells the fairy tale from the point of view of the evil witch who threatened to kill the princess, is being crafted with Angelina Jolie in mind, although the actress is not officially committed.

PHOTOS: 10 Movies That Have Crossed the Billion-Dollar Mark

Tim Burton was loosely attached to direct Maleficent, written by Linda Woolverton and produced by Joe Roth, but he backed away last May; the studio had been trying to find their prince since.

UTA-repped Stromberg, who has won two Oscars for his work, has shown the studio his capabilities not only on Alice but on also on the studio’s upcoming tentpole, Oz: The Great and Powerful, directed by Sam Raimi.  

At the same time on Friday, Disney hired commercial director Brian Beletic to helm the studio's untitled explorers project. Written by Jason Dean Hall and produced by Justin Springer, the project is described as “an origin story for a new generation of super explorers.”

PHOTOS: 10 Inappropriately Sexy Cartoon Characters

In announcing the project, the studio provided the following logline:

"A small group of young, super adventurer/explorers, each with a specific skill set, are brought to the remote backcountry of the Pennine Alps under various guises for a trek across one of the planet's remaining untouched realms. Here they partake in extreme skiing, snowboarding and mountaineering, encountering some of the world's most beautiful, but also perilous environments. In the face of life-threatening mountain conditions, they unravel the truth about one another, as well as why they were brought there, and ultimately uncover a mountain secret that may cost them their lives. And when the true motivation for their expedition comes to light, a covert organization with a long, yet secret history of global exploration is divulged."

On top of hiring Beletic, the studio has brought on board Brain Farm Cinema, the boutique production house that is known for filming extreme sports as production consultants.

Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com

Twitter: @Borys_Kit